Oranges…their bright coloring is sure to add cheer on a cold winter day. The scent of fresh oranges is uplifting to the senses- and the appetite!
Winter time is orange time for us here in California. We look forward to this time of year; to have a bit of sunshine in our kitchen and to nourish our bodies with much-needed vitamin C during the cold winter months.
…it’s an orange one! The produce we buy consists mostly of local, organic, and seasonal produce. With the cooler temperatures, orange and citrus season will be here soon. Over the years I have made every effort to reduce the amount of trash we throw away. We compost just about every type of non-fatty food item. However, adding too many orange peels is not the best for the compost barrel. So this led me to come up with a few ways to use up our ever growing pile of orange and citrus peels.
1. Dried orange peels can be used as fire starters. I keep a closed glass jar next to my wood burning stove and throw a handful in when starting a fire. Dried peels can also be used as a starter for fire pits and barbecues.
2. Make orange vinegar! Fill a canning jar with fresh orange peels and top it off with white vinegar. Store out of direct sunlight, allowing to infuse for a couple of weeks. After infusing, remove the orange peels and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Use as an all-purpose cleaning spray.
3. Dishwashing powder: Dried and ground up orange peels added to baking soda is a simple and inexpensive way to wash dishes. I add 1 tablespoon dried ground orange peels to about 8 ounces of baking soda into a small shaker jar. I keep this jar by my kitchen sink and use it instead of dishwashing soap. It works great on cutting grease, for soaking dishes and on sticky messes, like eggs and cheese.
4. Sprinkle some baking soda or salt onto the outer skin of an orange peel and use the orange peel like a scrubbing sponge. Works on sinks and pots and pans. Be sure to rinse well when using on light colored surfaces and always spot test.
5. Orange peels, dried or fresh, make a fantastic garbage disposal deodorizer.
6. Place a handful of dried peels in a cotton muslin bag and hang in a closet to deodorize. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil to repel moths or other insects.
Health and Beauty
1. Orange peels are naturally high in antioxidants, the peel contains more vitamin C than the actual fruit. I add a piece of orange peel to my daily fruit smoothie.
2. Dried or fresh, peels can be added to tea. This will result in an orange scented tea and increase the antioxidants in the tea.
3. Although I have yet to try, I have seen many recipes for making candied orange peels.
4. Dried, ground orange peels can be added to a cotton muslin bag, (or even a clean sock) and used as a body scrub. Allow the bag to dry between uses and discard the peels after a few days.
5. Make a face scrub using ground orange peels, ground oatmeal and some facial clay such as Bentonite Clay or French Green Clay. *Orange peels may increase photosensitivity, use caution with sun exposure after using on skin.
Orange ya peelin’ it yet?
Hopefully, this will inspire you to be a little greener with your orange peels!